• Phil Webster

UU Kids for a Livable Planet video presented during Hearing

UULM-MD submitted testimony to the House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 596 - The Environmental Human Right Amendment. The text of the testimony is below.

UULM-MD has launched the UU Kids for a Livable Planet project. This campaign will provide opportunities for children and youth to creatively express their feelings as well as their demands for a secure future, sustainable lifestyles, and environmental protection. It will also encourage and support participating congregations to offer prophetic preaching to support climate action, and pastoral care for teens (and their parents) who may feel stressed by climate change and disasters.

The first product from the UU Kids project is a 90 second video which was shown during testimony to the Environment and Transportation Committee. Many thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia's DRE Robin Slaw for coordinating these "UU Kids for a Livable Planet."

Testimony in Support

HB 596 - Constitutional Amendment - Environmental Rights

To: Chairman Barve and the members of the Environment and Transportation


From: Phil Webster, PhD, Lead Advocate on Climate Change

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland.

Date: February 23, 2022

The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland (UULM-MD) strongly supports HB 596 Environmental Human Rights Amendment and urges a FAVORABLE report by the committee.

The UULM-MD is a faith-based advocacy organization based on the Principles of Unitarian Universalism. Two Principles are particularly relevant. The Second Principle, Justice, equity and compassion in human relations and the Seventh Principle, Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalists believe in justice and equity in human relations. We know that environmental degradation harms marginalized communities with alarming regularity and intensity. We know that the health and dignity of these communities are adversely impacted, with rates of cancer, asthma and early death clearly related to the levels of pollution. We know that these communities, due to the vestiges of years of racial discrimination, do not have resources to engage in lengthy and expensive legislative remedies for the environmental pollution. We know that these communities are not protected by State and Local enforcement of existing laws. And we KNOW this injustice can and must be remediated.

Unitarian Universalists also believe that we should all have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Environmental pollution degrades water and air quality, contributes to climate change from the use of fossil fuels impacting everyone. Every person on this earth will suffer from environmental degradation and climate change, the only thing we DON’T KNOW is when and to what extent.

An Environmental Human Rights Amendment to the Maryland Constitution will provide all Maryland residents access to the Judicial systems, by granting them standing, to seek redress of environmental damage. The Amendment will give communities, especially those disproportionately affected, a legal tool to fight unfair burdens, and allow individuals and/or organizations to sue the government for violations. This amendment will have a notable impact on justice and equity in our State.

How can there be justice and equity if one part of society is reaping all the benefits, while another is paying all the costs?

We support this bill and recommend a FAVORABLE report in committee.

Phil Webster, PhD

Lead Advocate, Climate Change UULM-MD

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